Don’t believe Trump’s crocodile tears for those “beautiful babies” dying in Syria. Children have been dying everyday in Syria for years. To add insult to injury, they’re banned from coming to the US as refugees.
Instead, look at the rise in arms manufacturer Raytheon’s stock following Trump’s use of their cruise missiles against a Syrian airfield. Trump owns Raytheon stock and personally profited from his reckless act of escalation. He also profited politically from the truly unsettling excitement that liberals like our Senator Chuck Schumer apparently feel at the prospect of bombing Syria. The cost of Trump’s war profiteering will be paid in the blood of those “beautiful babies.”
We live in the United States. War isn’t new. As citizens and subjects of the most powerful empire in history, we have a national responsibility to restrain US imperialism around the world. Not just in Syria. The US is responsible for constant and numerous atrocities around the world, from Iraq to Somalia and Palestine. We are funding and supplying Saudi Arabia’s bombings in Yemen that massacre civilians from the air. We just dropped the Mother of All Bombs on Afghanistan. We have to stop it all.
That’s our first responsibility, but not our only one. Whether it’s refugees from Syria or migrant workers from Latin America – people matter more than borders! As internationalists, we have an additional responsibility to support democratic uprisings and social revolution wherever we see them.
This means solidarity with the revolution in Rojava and throughout Kurdistan. It also means we don’t forget that Assad’s regime started this war by attacking peaceful mass demonstrations. If we care about the Syrian people, we must insist that they are entitled to both peace and freedom.
The United States must pursue an Agenda for Peace in Syria. We must demand:
1) No US troops in Syria. American troops cannot resolve the conflict, and would only make things worse.
2) The United States must accept as many Syrian refugees as needed, and provide all necessary aid to UN and EU refugee relief efforts. These people need safe haven. If we don’t give it to them, then we have no right to pretend we care.
3) No more escalating airstrikes. Lift US economic sanctions on Syria. Escalation will only prolong the war. Assad’s people don’t deserve to starve for his war crimes.
4) Stop all aid from the US and its allies Jordan, Israel, Saudi Arabia, and Turkey for jihadist factions within the Syrian Opposition. We should support the Opposition’s Local Coordinating Committees and other civilian and democratic elements to the exclusion of militias like Al-Nusra.
5) Get Turkey out of Syria. End Turkey’s bombings and embargo against Rojava. Turkey must restore its own democracy and negotiate peace with the Kurds. Turkey’s invasion of northwestern Syria is a clear violation of international law and a needless act of aggression against the Syrian Democratic Forces fighting ISIS. Turkey has been aiding and protecting ISIS for years, and they’re playing the US for fools in Syria.
6) Remove the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) from the State Department’s Terrorist List. Once the ban on the PKK is lifted, American citizens and people around the world can do their part to defeat ISIS by sending direct aid and support to the Syrian Democratic Forces in Rojava without fear of legal trouble at home.
7) End the Kurdistan Regional Government in Iraq’s embargo against Rojava. Support autonomy for Sinjar. The Barzani government has closed its border with Rojava, digging miles of trenches. This cowardly capitulation to Turkey reinforces the colonial partition of Kurdistan from within. Barzani has also ordered soldiers to fire on peaceful protests, and undermined efforts by the Yezidi people to build autonomy in Sinjar.
8) The US and Russia must call for an immediate ceasefire, to be followed by democratic peace negotiations. War empowers the dictators, warlords, smugglers, profiteers, and black market networks. Peace would return power to the people. Peace negotiations should include the phaseout of Assad, as outlined in Russia’s 2012 diplomatic proposal in Geneva. Syrians of all political perspectives must have equal voice. All foreign interests should be side-lined.
9) All Syrians must have the right to return home, or to make a new home. After all that the US, Europe, and Russia have done to ruin these people’s lives, they should get to live wherever the fuck they want.
10) The US must provide any economic aid needed to rebuild Syria after the war. We have the money. US military spending weighs in just short of $600 billion. The World Bank estimates the cost of repair to Syria’s basic infrastructure at $180 billion. The US could fully fund the entire reconstruction and still have enough money leftover to spend more on the military than China, Saudi Arabia, Russia, and the UK combined.
“There are no ready and complete recipes for ending the Syrian crisis… but we also recognize and believe that the good efforts of the people of this country, and its friends, will be able to save what is left of Syria…. This in turn requires determination and commitment to a constructing a democratic, pluralistic, decentralized, secular Syria based on respect for the democratic rights of each constituent as provided for by laws and international norms and guaranteed by a new democratic constitution.” – The Project of a Democratic Syria (2015), Rojava Movement for a Democratic Society